US Pension Funds

American Pensions - the top 10 papers from Summer 2016

The top 10 white papers from this Summer

Savvy Investor is the world's leading knowledge network for institutional investors, with over 13,700 members and a research library containing 12,000 white papers, including sections dedicated to US pensions, DB pensions and DC pensions.

Our list of the top 10 pensions white papers from the summer of 2016 includes papers on DB pensions de-risking, DC plan design, plan governance and the behavior of American savers and retirees.

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How America Saves 2016: Vanguard 2015 DC Plan Data
This comprehensive annual report by Vanguard, now in its 15th year of publication, provides up-to-date analysis of Defined Contribution pension plans and participant behavior based on Vanguard's 2015 recordkeeping data. Adoption of professionally managed allocations by participants continues to grow. This has real potential to reconfigure that nature of retirement savings outcomes.

Reducing Pension Risk: Five Myths Holding Back U.S. Plan Sponsors (Prudential, 2016)
Many companies have decided to reduce pension benefits as a result of the increasing cost of DB plan maintenance. In spite of greater knowledge of risk management alternatives, the market has not yet to seen large organisations devise de-risking strategies, particularly risk transfer solutions. While a number of plan sponsors are currently examining their de-risking alternatives, a gap very clearly exists between the plans and actions of some companies with regard to defined benefit risk reduction.

U.S. Pensions: Withdrawals from financial accounts in retirement (Vanguard, 2016)
As Defined Contribution plans become more popular in the United States, income from financial accounts be relied upon increasingly. And yet, most research has documented little evidence of widespread drawdown from financial assets. 

LDI: Taking A Holistic, Practical Approach (Loomis Sayles, 2016)
This paper has been authored by Loomis Sayles. In it, the authors discuss LDI (liability-driven investing) from a holistic viewpoint. They also present solutions for plans to consider. The first part of the discussion reviews how to assess and manage the allocation split between liability-hedging assets (LHA) and return-seeking assets while the second part analyzes how to most effectively structure the LHA based on the allocation split.

The Coming Pensions Crisis (Citi, 2016)
For many, the retirement dream is to retire early enough to enjoy the fruits of their hard work. The reality however is that for many there isn't enough money in the piggy bank to last their retired life.

Hedge Fund-ing the Pension Deficit (Cambridge Associates, 2016)
This research note by Cambridge Associates examines the role hedge funds can play in pension investment portfolios and why in the current environment particularly, they may be additive to a pension risk management strategy. The authors discuss key areas for consideration as plan sponsors contemplate implementing a hedge fund allocation.

Smart Beta - Global Survey of Asset Owners (FTSE Russell, 2016)
FTSE Russell's 2016 smart beta survey documents the findings from interviewing over 250 asset owners around the world. This detailed 40-page paper reveals that factor investing is continuing to gain ground, with over 70% of asset owners surveyed currently implementing or evaluating such strategies. The survey explores investor perceptions of smart beta, including the rationale for using these strategies and the methods of evaluation. The study examines strategic versus tactical implementation of factor strategies, and discusses the evolving roles of external managers and consultants within the process.

2016 U.S. Retirement Plan Governance Survey (Willis Towers Watson, July 2016)
This excellent paper by Willis Towers Watson examines four areas crucial to good pension plan governance from a recent survey. The four areas are: risk management, strategy, measuring of plan effectiveness and levels of governance. The authors discuss key trends that emerge from the findings.

Automatic Plan Features in Defined Contribution Plans: What’s in it for Plan Sponsors? (DCIIA, 2016)
For plan sponsors who seek to enhance or implement automatic plan features in a DC plan, this paper by DCIIA offers a new perspective. Specifically, it highlights several possible benefits to the employer. The authors also provide an implementation roadmap for plan sponsors featuring a multi-year period.

The Economics of Providing 401(k) Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2015 (ICI, 2016)
This paper has been written by Investment Company Institute. It examines a variety of issues around the provision of 401(k) plans such as fees and expenses, trends in funds, services, and more.

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